x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Expo visitors can expect all the fun of the fair - plus puppets

A visit to Expo 2020 in Dubai would be made easier by special online reservations system, and video games in the queuing areas.

DUBAI // Guests at a world expo in Dubai would be able to plan their visit with an online reservations system that allows them to tailor the day according to specific attractions they want to see.

On the day, they would be greeted at the site by musicians, oversized puppets and performers who would keep them amused as they queued at the ticket checkpoints, security checks and entry gates.

"All gateways will be designed to create a sense of excitement and anticipation, to welcome visitors in the Emirati tradition," the bid dossier says.

Visitors would enter through one of four gates, depending on which means of transport they used to reach the site.

The bid team expects that many visitors will make their way to the Welcome Pavilion first, where staff would help them to orientate themselves in the vast site.

Most visitors are expected to gravitate towards Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of the expo. From there, they would move on to the major pavilions that ring the plaza. Signs and digital displays would prevent guests getting lost in a maze of attractions.

At the UAE pavilion, they would learn about the country's culture and traditions and the development that has taken place since the birth of the nation in 1971.

"From here visitors can continue their explorations as they stroll along a main boulevard under a high canopy ... reminiscent of a falcon's wings," says the dossier. "Photovoltaic panels will capture and filter sunlight as well as provide shade."

The site would be divided into three "theme zones", each named after one of the expo's sub-themes - mobility, sustainability and opportunity.

The streets leading to the zones would be lined with trees and public art, and each would contain a souq-like area.

Visitors who tire of walking would be able to travel around the site by cable car, gaining a new perspective from a gently swaying gondola.

The advance reservation system would be designed to reduce queues to a minimum, but inevitably there may be some waiting around - particularly outside the most popular attractions.

The bid team have thought of a number of ingenious ways to prevent boredom.

Video links would enable visitors queuing outside a pavilion to compete in quizzes and interactive games against people in others queues on the site.

Performers pretending to be visitors in the queue would spontaneously stage mini-concerts using instruments such as a harmonica or a set of spoons.

Pressure-sensitive pads in the walkways, as well as motion and gesture-tracking technology, would be connected to screens so visitors can take part in games.

There will also be a wide selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from. And, at the end of a day to remember, they would return to the gate they entered through and head off into the night.